Q: Recent studies are showing prescription pill use is down, do you see a "pill addiction" as a fad that is blown out of proportion by the media and the treatment industries?
A: You're correct that prescription pill abuse continues to decline. However, the perception of the public is that the problem is a growing epidemic. Anti-drug abuse agencies and organizations can't increase their fund raising and receipt of tax money if the public realizes that the problem is declining. News stories attract readers by focusing on the exceptions to the positive trend. Drug rehabs would lose business if the demand for their services declined. So there are a lot of people who have a vested interest in exaggerating the extent of the problem.
Of course, some people do suffer negatively from their inappropriate use of prescription (and even over-the-counter) medications. But they can't solve their problem by entering a drug rehab.
Q: Why is it so easy for Americans to obtain prescription pills?
A: Pills are "easy." Instead of treating our health problems by quitting tobacco, exercising, losing weight, and so on, we much prefer the ease of taking medication. Physicians know that patients generally don't want to hear such advice and will tend to go to a doctor who will prescribe the "easy way out" that we want. Doctors are in business and ultimately have to please their patients or lose them.
Q: What do you think about dual-diagnosis in the treatment industry today?
A: People are being "assigned" a mental illness and given pills so they are covered under insurance for rehab. There's simply no question about that. It's unethical to say the least, but most drug abuse facilities feel pressure to engage in these activities in order to stay in business. The patient is the one who suffers.
Q: Do prescription pills pose a major threat to the body?
A: Prescription medication can be life-saving when used according to doctors' orders. However, they can be life-threatening when people misuse them.
Q: Can you overcome a prescription pill addiction?
A. Yes. But people should never go into any rehab that uses a 12 step approach. That's because they will be taught that they are powerless over drugs, that they must rely on a Higher Power, and that they need to attend support groups for the rest of their lives. If they can't seem to avoid abusing prescription drugs (or other substances) they should investigate a non 12 step program. The most effective, at a proven 62% long-term success rate, is the St. Jude Program offered at the St. Jude Retreats.
Q: Do you think it's acceptable for doctors to receive a monetary kick back from major pharmaceutical companies for assigning a patient a certain type of drug? Is this causing the "addiction" problem today?
A: It's unethical for physicians to receive any kick back of any type because it's not in the best interest of the patient. Pharmaceutical companies sometimes illegally promote the "off label" use of their products. That is, they encourage physicians to prescribe them for purposes or diseases for which the medications have not been approved. For these reasons, some physicians refuse to meet with pharmaceutical salespeople.
However, I think the major cause of prescription drug abuse is demand driven rather than supply driven. That is, we all want to avoid effort by simply taking a pill. We medicate life's problems and want a quick and easy solution for almost everything. If children misbehave, we call it a disease and give them a pill. If we're nervous about making a presentation, we take a pill. If we're overweight, we take a pill. By medicating ordinary life problems, we've created an environment in which prescription drugs are easily abused.